Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Feelin' Fishy

I have wanted fish for some time. They seem like a pretty perfect pet - easy to keep, nice to look at, not requiring walks or litter boxes or cuddles and affection. Nice for my semi-transient lifestyle. Anyway, a roommate of my sweetheart left behind a fishtank when he moved out, and Christmas brought me most of the rest of what I would need. So last weekend, we made a trip to PetSmart and chose two pretty little Black Mollies. The man at the store was happy I only wanted two fish, so the brand new tank would have a chance to acclimate. He said a lot of people come in and want 20 fish right away, and then they wonder why the poor things don't live out the week. I personally didn't want any more than two fish anyway. My tank is only ten gallons and I don't want to crowd the litte guys.

So anyway. Last evening, sitting in the living room, all of a sudden my sweetheart says, "I think the fish had a baby." "Ha ha," I said. "Yeah right."

But upon looking, it turned out that the fish had not had a baby, they had had six. I ran to the computer and looked up Black Mollies. Turns out they breed very easily (ha), and they can have 12 - 30 babies. So what, I ask you, am I to do now?

The little ones are pretty cute; miniature fishies darting around at the top of the tank. Im just worried that more might be on the way...


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Catching up my correspondence

This week, in addition to work at setting up the new gallery space, and starting the new semester, and dealing with the onslaught of winter - or perhaps because of all these - I decided my priority would be to catch up on my correspondence. Some friends and I have been postcarding back and forth, and I have developed a fondness for making my cards myself.

There is something very satifying about postcard making. The size is pretty much set, so that decision is out of the way. But on that small rectangle, the possibilities are endless! First, I was into using old photographs (a great use for pictures that don't come out!). Then I tried sewing on the cardstock and had great luck using folded paper for a sort of bias tape edge effect.

And then wonderful things happened. I got a vintage book of salad recipes; some mundane, some bizzarre, all wonderful, except that I knew they were unlikely ever to be used. So the book was cut to pieces, and the recipes were sewn or glued to cardstock to make recipe postcards! Now I am all excited about sewing paper and using vintage books or magazines for images or text. Its all great fun. I began to make some greeting cards as well, because they can be more delicate than postcards that must withstand unprotected travels.

But this time, I made only postcards, and each was created with its individual recipient in mind. They are now addressed and waiting to head out.

Originally uploaded by littleloopy.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Fabric obsessions

I really love fabric. I love to just be around fabric. It is actually somewhat detrimental to my sewing record, as I often get so involved in just enjoying the cloth that I lose interest in actually making something of it. That said, I also am becoming more and more interested in not accumulating too much extra stuff, and so I try to hold myself to strict rules about only buying what I need, and having an honest purpose for each yardage.

These inhibitions were thrown aside over the Holidays when I found out that my favorite fabric store is closing. The store is a clearance branch of Fabricland, stuck in the back-door basement of a strip-mall and literally overflowing with $2.00-$3.00 fabric tables and nearly anything else I could want. Of course, the store is in suburban Toronto, and I no longer live there, but it was always a destination when visiting and I will miss its presence from a distance.

The closing sales, and the prospect of never having another chance, filled my basket in no time with all sorts of exciting remnants and more. I told myself they would all become bags to be sold, or part of a quilting project, and perhaps they will. But I am a master of justification and I was in full swing. Oscar Wilde once said that "the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it," and I do believe the man had a point.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

A New little friend

This evening was spent in the creation of a wee new lady,

who will soon be mailed off as a thank you for the fantastic cookies I received yesterday from a friend...

Its been a while since I really got into a project. I dreamt the holidays away, far removed from my cozy little crafting corner, and had a whole slew of ventures ready to jump into upon returning. The past week, however, I seem to be suffering from a crafting variation of writer's block. Maybe just because there was so much I wanted to do, I haven't been able to start a thing. This evening was a breakthrough though, and with luck the ennui will not return.

"Ennui" is my favorite word right now. As I work, I have been listening to "The Scarlet Pimpernell," by Baroness Orczy, on cd. It is a romance of political intrigue during the French Revolution, very dashing and exciting and full of French accents. I speak absolutely no French, but I wish dreadfully that I did and so I repeat "ennui" to myself in a throaty whisper and make believe I am in Paris.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Reflections of the Sky

Went for a walk this afternoon and saw this in a puddle:

Maybe it doesn't look like so much in the photograph, but I really liked the reflections.

Ofcourse, the strange thing is that the picture was taken just today, the 8 of January, in Northern Vermont... and the water in the shallow puddle is rippling gently in the breeze. The day before, I sat comfortably outdoors in a t-shirt for a good half hour; and when we wondered if we would be able to put a coat of paint on an outside wall, we worried it might rain. Rain. Not snow, or hail, or even sleet. Sure, it's kinda nice, but really!


Sunday, January 7, 2007

Who would have thought?

This unprepossessing little piece of knitting was my final effort in a long felting saga.

The story began in Virginia, where I read a magazine article about turning old wool sweaters into purses. What an exciting idea! So over the holidays I made a trip to a local thrift store and found a lovely green, 100% wool sweater, took it home, and tossed it in the washer, with plenty of soap and the water set to hot. Twenty minutes or so later, and the cycle was over. Imagine my surprise on lifting from the machine, not a nicely shrunken piece of felt, but a lovely green sweater whose only change was to be, perhaps, a bit cleaner.

Another attempt was made, adding a larger quantity of soap and extra items to increase the agitation, and the sweater still did not felt. Ok, I thought, this must be a case of the wool having some sort of felt-resistant coating. Not unheard of in commercial wool. So I took a piece of knitting, done by my mother, and threw that in. Still no luck. I tried a handknit, homespun wool sweater. Again no felt. That's when the above pictured knitting took place. Not exactly sure what my logic was, but I needed another choice and it just seemed right. This also did not felt. I was thouroughly confused. Isn't it the second most common laundry disaster, after turning the whites pink, to felt the woolens? And all I was left with was a pile of wet wool. So I tossed everything into the dryer. And here the story takes a turn for the better: an hour later, everything except my original green thrifted sweater was nicely felted. The only piece I ended up using was my little knitted rectangle, which became a sweet little bag for a friend's Christmas gift, with the addition of a canvas handle and a needle-felted decoration.

I still want to try this sweater-to-bag plan, but I'm just not sure when I'll find the time. Turns out felting is a tougher process than I had realized!

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I have been putting off starting to write here because I have not known how to begin. I feel that I should introduce myself in some way, but then I also am quite certain that very few people who are not acquainted with me will be reading this. So in lieu of a formal introduction, I am going to take this opportunity to dwell in my satisfaction over my first independent foray into chicken roasting...

This evening I cooked a chicken, a whole chicken, stuffed and all. Actually quite simple, but it has such overtones of maturity and competence that I was quite impressed with myself.

It was a small organic chicken from the local coop, stuffed with brown rice with garlic and basil, and basted with soy sauce and sesame oil. Having never been responsible for a roasted bird before, and having disposed of the wrapper and labels immediately and without memorizing the weight, cooking time was something of a mystery. I think I ended up cooking it a bit longer than necessary, but as I was the only diner there were no complaints.

I finished the meal with steamed broccolli and a nice thick gravy. Would have been a perfect meal for a cold winter evening, if winter would only arrive...